A July 2005 trip
to Seattle by Emily May
Quote: An out-of-the-way road trip trying to experience everything of interest on the way.
After days of driving, I decided to splurge in Las Vegas. Staying only 1 night, and on a weekday I was able to save a few dollars. Check-in and check-out were long, with masses of people waiting around. The accommodations were fabulous, with a deep tub to soak my travel-weary body and a shower to wash quickly after the day of sunbathing. Blackout shades, controlled from a switch near the comfortable bed, kept the bright Las Vegas lights out. The pool area was well designed for adult fun, with 4-foot-deep pools perfect for a cool down from the sweltering Nevada sun.
Although the Bellagio is purported to have one of the better buffets in Las Vegas, the long lines were quite a deterrent. Instead, I took advantage of one of the seven in-house restaurants. Shintaro serves Asian cuisine in a delightful atmosphere. The bar serves a minty blackberry concoction that everyone raved over. Don't forget the fountain light show on the half-hour; it's one of the things you will remember for a long time. Shopping is upscale and open late, offering stores such as Prada, Armani, and Dior.
Although lavish, the mega-resort leaves a want for personal attention. The average traveller lugs their own luggage and, although there is a concierge service, is generally on their own.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 8, 2006
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Attraction | "Kings Canyon/Sequoia"
Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers 93271
Attraction | "Yosemite"
The most visited National Park in the US, due not only to its proximity to L.A., but because of its wonderful scenery and wide variety of activities available for all age and skill levels. I spent just a few short hours inside the park, but I vow to go back. The main drive through the valley of the park has a little bit of everything; waterfalls, cliffs, mountains, rivers, and beautiful rock work to marvel at as you drive past. As with many national parks the drive may be a bit unnerving; the sharp drop-off and the guard rail on one side, the cliff hugging the other. Just this view is enough to entice me, once you enter the valley. Bridalveil falls is an easy walk that takes you near the base of the waterfall. It's said that as the mist hits you, you will find your own true love. As with many myths, take this with a grain of salt, but it's nice to be romantic on vacation.
The falls themselves are wispy and quite tall, definitely worth the short trip up to the base. Along the drive you will cross a river, maybe spot the campers using the grilling stations and picnic tables, and taking advantage of the bridge spanning the river to jump in for a swim. Unfortunately, I tried to venture a bit off to the side of the main area. I was soon driven back, due to the mass of mosquitoes. Within five minutes, I had about twenty bites so don't forget your bug spray, especially during July. Marvelous views, adventure waiting just around the corner, and although crowded, there is always a little space available for yourself.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 10, 2006
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California 95389
Attraction | "Mesa Verde"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2006
Mesa Verde National Park
West Highway 160
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81330
Attraction | "Petrified Forest and Painted Desert"
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 6, 2006
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona 86028
Attraction | "Wine Tasting in Napa"
A pleasant drive anywhere in the valley, most wineries and the main wine-tasting route are clearly marked, but you might want to pick up a brochure, either in your hotel lobby or at the tourist information center. That way, you can make a plan of action the night before. The brochures have helpful hints, like whether it costs money, hours of operation, phone numbers, if you need to make an appointment for a tour, etc. If you have time, give the winery a call, as they might be temporarily closed.
The softly rolling hills hide many treasures; I know, as I passed quite a few tasting facilities without a glimpse. A more romantic, perhaps safer, course of action might be to take a bike tour to your favorites. Although the wine route is fairly long, it’s not completely out of the question for a bike tour, but don’t let this be the first time in 10 years that you’ve ridden.
I recommend trying to hit as many wineries as possible. Take only one or two tours, one of the vines and one of the winery, and then go straight to the tasting rooms. Coppola is one of the more popular ones, with a beautiful entrance reminiscent of old successful wineries in Italy. For a small fee, you taste and leave with a glass. BV offers free tasting for military members. As a rule, and I don’t mean to be crass, but I would check to see about the military discount in as many places as possible; it never hurts.
So take the day to taste wine until your eyes are a reddish-purple, know your limits, and bring a friend. There is some shopping available in Napa, with an outlet mall and a few cute shops downtown, but no one goes here to shop; buy wine, not clothes.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 20, 2006
Throughout Napa Valley
Napa Valley, California